Preparing for the death of a loved one is difficult emotionally and mentally, and there are actual physical and financial challenges that may make it even harder. If a loved one dies without a will or estate plan, it can be extremely difficult to get financial affairs in order, and this often causes fights and backlash between family members. If a home is not included in a will, it may fall to the next of kin to go through possessions and get the house ready to sell, which can be a huge job. Then it must be determined who pays the taxes and realtor fees, and who inherits the money made from the house. This can be a difficult time for everyone, and it is almost always made easier when the parent is financially and legally prepared to transfer ownership to children or next of kin.
If you choose to leave your assets and wealth in the form of a trust when you pass on, you may be able to protect it and keep it private. Many people create a trust before dying, and all their assets go into the trust upon death. Specific instructions are written up about how the wealth should be distributed, and they must be followed. The person or people receiving the benefits of the trust are called trustees.
No two estate plans are ever the same. At least that's what most estate planning experts will tell you. That's because an estate plan should be as unique as the individual drafting it. It should really reflect a person's life events - such as having children or remarriage - and what they want to happen to their estate when they pass.
Have you ever found yourself saying, "I'm not old enough to even think about making a will or an estate plan?" If so, you're not alone. Many people believe that an estate plan is only for people reaching retirement age or those who have a substantial amount of assets that need to be accounted for upon their death. This isn't true, though.